By Gasper Marku
Memorie.al / Filip Guraziu, is one of those prominent names of the city of Shkodra, whose life has experienced quite a few unpleasant family surprises, but who never gave up surviving life’s challenges. Along with others, the Gurazez family, as one of the old and respected families from Shkodra, had a great passion for sports. Pjerin Guraziu, Philip’s father, one of the most talented intellectuals and economists of the 50s, whose name has received a lot of attention due to the incident that happened in 1951, the data shows him as the first Albanian sports champion and record holder in the discipline of Albanian athletics. And, not by chance, his son, Filip Guraziu, would also prefer sports.
The sports career of Filip Guraziu
The sport of basketball has been Filip Guraziu’s main passion since childhood, with which he tried to have many successes with “Vllaznina”, “Tirana” and the national team of Albania, but the progress of his sports career will be accompanied by situations of unpleasant, where thanks to what was called at the time, the class war, he experienced quite a bit of suffering in his life, where especially the emotional ones were very difficult.
“In my youth, sport was everything for me, it was the biggest investment of my life. Sport was the joy, satisfaction, pride, sacrifice, faith and optimism of life. Sport was political security, job security, security for family consolidation. Sport was life itself! In the fall of 1966, at the age of 23, with work, sweat, discipline and sacrifice, I arrived with a degree in Mathematics at the State University of Tirana in 1964 and, at the same time, carried on my shoulders a baggage of sports results with a very heavy weight. Great in the basketball field”, says Mr. Guraziu, in a conversation with “Veriu Sport”, while the following recalls some of the sports results and honorary titles won by him over the years.
Leaving the sport, – a sad memory of Guraziu
“In December 1966, I went to training with the “Vllaznia” team in the sports field of the “Spartak” Corner in Shkodër and before I arrived at the dressing room, outside, a little like in the corner, he was waiting for me Coach Esat Haxhi, who approached me and told me that he had something to communicate with me. Esati was numb, he tried to avoid eye contact, and his lip trembled, he spoke in a low voice: “Filip, I am authorized to communicate your exclusion from the sports activity of basketball for political reasons”, saved tears from his eyes.
It is a sad memory, that even today when you learn the reality of that time, it is like that. An exception from sports, but at the same time removing him from education as a math teacher, he was also removed from the city, with a transfer to Dukagjin and then a worker at the Wood Factory in Shkodër.
The return from the intervention of Bilal Parruca…!
Filip Guraziu suffered a lot from leaving sports for political reasons, since the moment it happened was exactly at a stage when his sports form was at its peak and he had a lot to give to the team. But, after a two-year break from sports, with the direct interest of the senior leader of the local government, Bilal Parruca, Guraziu would return to sports, rejoining the red and blue team.
“Thanks to the intervention of Bilal Parruca, then Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Shkodër District, I won the right to reactivate the sport of basketball. “Unfortunately for me, perhaps as a result of the interruption of training for a period of two years, after a while I had an incurable knee accident”, adds Guraziu in his memoirs.
Persecution and suffering of the Guraziu family!
Filip Guraziu was born on June 18, 1943 in Tirana. He is the son of Pjerin Guraziu, an intellectual educated in the West, who was the head of finance in the Ministry of Agriculture, until he was shot by the communist state in 1951.
February 22, 1951 – Pjerin Guraziu is arrested and on March 30, 1952 he is shot on the charge: “They are accused of: They have been put in the service of foreign imperialist spies, becoming their regular agents. They have supplied foreign spies with information of a secret military, political and economic nature to the detriment of our People’s Republic”.
The shooting of Pjerin Gurazi is related to the explosion of dynamite thrown in the courtyard of the former building of the Soviet Embassy in Tirana, on February 19, 1951.
After the event, around 150 people were arrested and 22 intellectuals were shot. The family of Filip Guraziu (who was only 7 years old) learned the announcement that the father had been shot as an “enemy of the people” after the execution. The family moved from Tirana to Shkodër, to the grandparents’ house.
During the following years, the entire Guraziu family was constantly monitored by the State Security. At the age of 14, Filip Guraziu moved to Tirana for high school and thanks to his good sports skills, he managed to integrate.
During the years of communism, due to the class war, he faced exclusion from sports, education and worked in a wood factory and as a manual worker. With persistence and difficulty, Guraziu attended night school and worked as an accountant in a cooperative.
After the 1990s, Filip Guraziu, the first mayor of Shkodra
For Filip Guraziu, as well as for many other intellectuals who had experienced the persecution of the previous system, the democratic processes after the 1990s would bring good days. Since the first democratic elections, thanks to the votes of his fellow citizens, Filip Guraziu was entrusted with the direction of the Municipality of Shkodra.
For four years in a row, 1992-1996, he is the first mayor of Shkodra Municipality during the years of democracy. In the following, Filip Guraziu serves as a member of the Municipal Council, director of the “Jordan Misja” General Secondary School, Chairman of the Italy-Albania Friendship Association based in Florence and Shkodër, President of the “Vllaznia” club, Vice-President of the Association of of the Politically Persecuted based in Shkodër, etc.
Today, at the age of 81, thanks to his sports activities, Filip Guraziu enjoys full health. In addition to frequenting tourism and walking in nature, he is very active with his contribution to civil society in ecological protection, tourism, art, culture, author of the publication of several books, currently supporting and cultivating the development of Gegnishte, on the portal whose writings and publications are of considerable public interest.
Successes and titles
– Two-time National Champion with the High School Representative of Tirana, 1959, 1960. “Gold Medal of the First National Spartakiad”, 1959 as the most distinguished and promising basketball player.
– Participant of the Albanian basketball representative for the age of 22, at the Bucharest Youth Games, in February 1960.
– Four-time National Champion in Basketball with adults with “17 November” of Tirana for the years 1961, 1962, 1963 and with “Vllaznina” of Shkodra in the 1966-1967 sports season, with such well-known names in the lineup, such as: Zyhdi Çoba, Nikolin Pali, Agim Lahi, Luan Shatku, Nikolin Kovaçi, Dhimitër Taçi, Petrit Osmani, Asllan Gjyrezi, Renato Radoja, Roland Koka. We recall here that Guraziu did not have the opportunity to win the fourth championship medal with “Vllaznina” because he was removed from the sport in the second stage for political reasons.
– Winner of 4 Republic Cups, with the “17 November” team of Tirana in 1961, 1962, 1963, and with the “Vllaznia” team of Shkodra, in 1966.
– Winner of 3 “Liberation of the City of Shkodra” Cups in 1961, 1962, 1963.
– Winner of 3 cups of the city of Tirana, in 1961, 1962, 1963.
– At the age of 18, member of the Albanian Basketball Team.
– “Master of Sports”, in Basketball at the age of 19.
– Winner of the Survey of the “Popular Sport” newspaper as a player of the “best five”, who would represent Albania in the Balkan Basketball Games of 1965 in Tirana.
– Main player of the first five of the Albanian Representative in the Basketball Balkaniad, which took place in Tirana in December 1965.
– “Deserved Master”, in the Sport of Basketball, year 1993.
– “Honor of Albanian Sport”, year 2000.
– “Medal of Appreciation”, year 2006. Memorie.al